Bagels and Brain Freeze


I woke up at 6:30 am this morning.

“Why?” you may wonder.

My best guess is that:

  1. It’s Saturday and therefore do not have to work my “day job”
  2. The dogs actually slept in
  3. I actually have a day of not having to be anywhere at the freakin’ crack of dawn or having to get up, clean house, go grocery shopping and prep for guests coming over.
  4. The Hubs didn’t have anywhere he had to be either-no rehearsal, no set building, no “welcome-to-the-college” activity to man.
  5. Did I mention that it’s Saturday?

All of these seemingly random events collided this morning at 6:30 am sharp when I just woke up, bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to go.

Now, being a Badass means having consideration for those still enjoying the blissful warmth of sleeping in. It means not being bitter that you are awake and cannot do a damn thing in the house because it may wake the slumbering beasts who share your humble abode. Nope. It’s suck it in time and that means:

  1. Just lie in bed, trying to pretend to fall back asleep, while thinking of all the things you could be doing, if only everyone else was awake, too.
  2. Hole up in a dark bathroom with your cell phone and play Drawsomething, check your Facebook news feed and clean out your email box while sitting on the toilet seat because the tiled floor is too freakin’ cold (don’t judge me)
  3. Start thinking of what culinary trouble you can get yourself into later in the day.

Or “D” all of the above. (don’t judge me)

So after exhausting all possibilities, an idea sprang into my tiny, crazy little mind…

BAGELS!!!

And so I started formulating a recipe in my head. About an hour later, when my hubby started to rouse from his blissfully ignorant sleep, I was rarin’ to go. Now, I am not one of those folks that needs to get my caffeine on in the morning. Nope, I attack the day with the gusto of a chipmunk on a Red Bull induced high. Gary, on the other hand, is, well, not much of a morning person…He lolls over, eyes still closed and gives me a sleepy smile to which I say, “I’m gonna make bagels!”. An eye slowly opens and gives me a “how long have you been up” look. “I’m too much for you in the mornings, huh?” I conceed. ” A little…” he half yawns. Then he gives me a kiss, “But you’re so freakin’ cute.”

So I went about putting to life the recipe that was rolling around my head for the past 90 minutes. And I have to say, they are pretty yummy. I do have to tweak my technique a bit before I unleash it to you, but I think you’ll be happy with the results 🙂

So that was the bagel part…and now for the “brain-freeze”…

So tomorrow we start up production again on the DBA webisode series. In order to prep (and because it’s been a while since I’ve posted…sorry) I figured I’d post a short blurb here. And what did I find?…

A draft post, from before Christmas that I never posted…

Shame on me.

So, even though we all have Springtime on the mind and Easter is only a few weeks away, here is that lonely little post…Enjoy!

I’ve never thought of myself as a food snob.

That all changed over the course of the last week.

The first incident was last Friday.  The whole family was in mood for some holiday festivities, so we packed ourselves into the cars and headed out to the Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Carolina Christmas light extravaganza. We decided to get a bite to eat beforehand and over dinner, of course, the subject turned to food.  Gary started telling my folks about the braised short ribs with the demi glace’ reduction over the rosemary and roasted garlic mashed potatoes that I’d whipped up earlier in the week when my sister, Jenn, piped up. “So, um, do you ever cook anything that’s not..uh..gourmet? I mean, you, know, normal?

A hush fell across the table.

I started thinking hard, real hard. Gary brightly chimed in, “Nope. It’s gourmet every night at our house!”

I didn’t think much more about it at the time.

We had a great time at the Speedway (even got to drive on the track-sooo cool!) and even got to see the “Polar Express” on the world’s largest HDTV. Yep, holiday cheer was in full effect and I forgot about Jenn’s question.

That is, until Tuesday night.

Gary and I were running errands after work and decided to grab a bite to eat out. We ended up a a Fish Camp type restaurant.  Gary always wondered about it and so we figured “what the hell?” and went inside.

We were greeted by about a half-dozen or so elderly ladies sporting fluffy, silvery hair, red lipstick and too much Jean Nate’. One very enthusiastic diner  held the door for us and said, “Well come right in! We’re just waiting on our ride!”  Now even though I’m typically not into the fried seafood thing, it did smell pretty good inside, so I followed the hostess to our booth, feeling fairly optimistic.

So there we were sitting comfortably, checking out the, um, interesting decor (an eclectic mix of silk flowers, countrified knick knacks and taxidermied ducks and fish) and munching on some hushpuppies that were brought to the table, when Gary asks, “Are we food snobs?”  Suddenly, my sister’s comment popped back into my head.  I looked at my husband as I chewed thoughtfully on a hushpuppy. “I don’t think we’re food snobs. We are foodies. We love and appreciate good food and fresh ingredients. That doesn’t make us snobs. Besides, we love Big Macs and I doubt food snobs would ever cop to enjoying fast food.”  “Hmm. You’re right.” And we continued nibbling until our food came out. Gary ordered popcorn shrimp and I ordered fried ocean perch. Before my plate even hit the table, I could tell it wasn’t going to be pretty.

My fish was beige.

Beige.

And I’m not talking about the breading.

I figured, “Suck it up,woman. You’re a Badass. You should at least try it.” So I did. Big mistake. The bite I took had so many pin bones that I nearly choked and was utterly tasteless. Gary saw the look on my face and said, “Uh oh. Not good, huh? ” “Nope. The fish is obviously frozen and there are about a million pin bones in it. I can’t eat this.” Our waitress came back around, smiling, to ask how we were enjoying our food.

“Um, not very much.”

“Oh, I’m sorry darlin’! What’s wrong?”

I didn’t have the heart to go into everything that was wrong with the fish so I just said, “There are just so many pin bones in it.”

“Oh, sometimes you just can’t help that-they do their best to get ’em all out. Can I bring you something else?”

“I guess I’ll try the char-grilled chicken breast, thanks.”

Meanwhile, my husband is sitting across the table looking guiltily at his plate, as if to say: “I know I should be supportive and chivalrous and wait to finish my shrimp until you get your new food, but um, mine’s ok and it’s getting cold.” I tell him to go ahead and eat and he happily dives back in.  About 10 minutes later, the chicken comes out. From about 5 feet away, I can see a dark crust of oregano and char marks all over it.  I take one bite as the waitress and my husband look on in eager anticipation, making me feel even worse about sending it back too. Cremated poultry is just not badass.  To her credit, the waitress is still a sweetheart and offers to take the charge off the check.  I mean, it wasn’t her fault. She wasn’t cooking (at least I don’t think she was…)

Fish is one of those sacred foods to Italians. If it’s not done right, well, we take it as a direct affront to our culture. What’s really sad is that I’ve had poorly executed fish at freakin’ 5 star restaurants!!! One of which was in MIAMI!!! What the hell?! ( I actually offered to go back and show the chefs how to cook the damn grouper) Cooking fish is a bit tricky, but it can be mastered. All you need is a little patience and a watchful eye. Here is a simple recipe using one of my favorite all purpose fishies, Tilapia. Yep, the lowly Tilapia can become gourmet grub with a little TLC. I present to you…

Tilapia Picatta

8 tilapia fillets (you can also use swai)

3/4 cup flour seasoned with 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

1/2 cup white wine (Chardonnay, Riesling, Savignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio all work nicely)

One 12oz jar of quartered, marinated artichoke hearts

5 TBS butter

2 TBS capers (the tiny nonpariel kind is what I like to use)

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 4 lemons)

light olive oil (or canola oil)

Place flour, salt and pepper in large shallow dish and mix thoroughly.

Dredge each fillet until nicely coated.

In a large skillet heat about 2 TBS of oil on medium high. Add fish (2-4 pieces at a time, depending on the size of the pan) and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until fish is opaque and firm to the touch (cooking times may vary)Remove fish, and set aside in a warm serving dish.

To the pan, add the butter and scrape to loosen the bits of flour left in the pan. When butter starts to brown slightly (about a minute) add the artichokes and capers. Cook for 1 minute. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, followed by the lemon juice and cook for another minute or two. Pour  sauce over fish and serve.

See how easy that is? A gourmet fish dish that is sure to impress even the most discriminating Italian 😉 As a bonus, tilapia is very inexpensive, so this is a very economical meal! Gourmet on a budget! Hell yeah! As another bonus, fish is brain food, which means that eating this dish will make you smarter and much less likely to forget stuff, like, oh, I don’t know…a 3 month old draft of a blog post. If only I had eaten the perch that night. Bones and all…

Have a safe and happy St. Patty’s Day everyone! Oh, and keep an eye out for updates-the webisodes will start posting very soon!

Until next time…

Have fun and be FEARLESS!

xoxox

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